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DAW vs. portable multitracker, please help a newbie

Discussion in 'Recording' started by DaveF, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    Hi guys, new guy here.

    I'm currently using a Korg D16 and I'm ready for something better to record our band. Don't need pro quality, but would obviously like to get the best I can afford. My budget is $1500~$2K.

    As the title suggests, I'm torn between a new stand-alone workstation, which I'm quite comfy with, or a DAW, which I know nothing about.

    I do own a PC, here's what's under the hood:

    Asus A7N8X Deluxe, AMD 2800+, 2GB RAM, two 80GB HDD 7200rpm, don't have a sound card.

    From what I've read this system should do fine as a DAW, with the addition of a soundcard.

    I have all the gear you'd expect to find in a budget home studio.

    I guess I just need somebody to tell me why I should assemble a DAW as opposed to buying a stand-alone workstation and then recommend something within my $1500~$2K budget, please.

    Again, I know nothing about DAW's so please be patient with me. I've been a musician for over 20 years and I do know a thing or two, but this stuff is all new to me.


  2. wags

    wags Guest

    Hi Dave, I wrestled with the same question before I took the plunge. Unless portability is an issue, go with the DAW. I'm glad I did. Once you buy a standalone, thats pretty much it. A DAW is much more flexible. You will appreciate a full computer screen rather than a tiny LCD screen. I think people get standalones because they like the knobs and sliders as opposed to a mouse but I haven't had any problems. I personally use the Presonus Firebox which is a firewire interface and works fine. Just make sure you get an interface with as many inputs as you need. Also with a DAW, you have a myriad of plugins, software instruments and effects to choose from. With a standalone most times your stuck with the effects that are built in unless you go outboard. I would recommend that you dedicate your computer to being a DAW(no internet or games) Don't be intimidated by the software, it's only as complicated as you need it to be. The popular ones are Cubase and SONAR, both of which have inexpensive "home studio" versions instead of the full blown pro version. There are also some cheaper multitrack software programs out there to like N-tracks.
    Good luck with your decision.

  3. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    M-Audio Delta 1010 card(s) plus Tracktion


    Your mixing options will be infinitely broader using VST plug-ins than with the onboard processing of a budget recorder..
  4. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    Woodbridge, Va
    Home Page:
    With a DAW, you become the manufactuer. You have so many options to choose from. Since you have the core processing unit, the next obvious components you'll need would be software & hardware. I too am a graduate from one of those all-in-one wonder boxes (Tascam 688). But when I chose to upgrade to computer recording, that instantly changed the way my music sounded. Of course a lot of that had to do with, 1. different platforms 2. the addition of external processors & effects 3. more tracks instead of bouncing and sharing limited track space. Nowadays, DAW recording is the defacto when it comes to music production, I can't see it any other way. But with your budget, IMO, I'd invest into one of any decent semi-pro or pro sound cards that are on the market. And since I'm a Cubase SX user, I'd recommend the $99 S.E. version for your software. Or better yet, lounge around your favorate music center and have the sales guy demo a few different packages for you. And also find and attend any upcoming DAW workshops or seminars. These do highlight the differences between s/w manufactuers and their products. Once you plant your feet in this stuff, it becomes very addictive, which I don't have a problem admitting to.

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